Analysis Opinion Insight

Friday, September 5, 2014

Saving England from the Scribes

Fleet Street's impact on the Three Lions 

After what was deemed to be a "poor performance" against Norway, ( Ironically, they did win 1-0 with a bunch of kids, in what was an otherwise meaningless friendly) has got the British broadsheets and tabloids bemoaning the recent performances of the players, the results at the world cup, the talent of the manager and the relatively low percentage of English players playing in the Premier League. Fans are apathetic, even those that prepaid for tickets didn't turn up. Any hope that the national side will end what will be 50 years of trophy-less tournament participation in France in 2016 is very low if not non-existent and with performances not entertaining; fans, pundits and journos alike are impatient for improvement and are eager to see change.

Consider this speech from one Dolores Umbridge from Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix and apply it to football.  

"The Ministry of Magic (Football Association) has always considered the education of young witches and wizards (Footballers) to be of vital importance.The rare gifts with which you were born may come to nothing if not nurtured and honed by careful instruction. The ancient skills unique to the wizarding (football) community  must be passed down the generations lest we lose them for ever. The treasure trove of magical (football) knowledge amassed by our ancestors must be guarded, replenished and polished by those who have been called to the noble profession of teaching.Every headmaster and headmistress of Hogwarts (coaches, managers & administrators at the FA/St George's Park) has brought something new to the weighty task of governing this historic school (organization), and that is as it should be, for without progress there will be stagnation and decay. There again, progress for progress's sake must be discouraged, for our tried and tested traditions often require no tinkering. A balance, then, between old and new, between permanence and change, between tradition and innovation because some changes will be for the better, while others will come, in the fullness of time, to be recognized as errors of judgement. Meanwhile, some old habits will be retained, and rightly so, whereas others, outmoded and outworn, must be abandoned. Let us move forward, then, into a new era of openness, effectiveness and accountability, intent on preserving what ought to be preserved, perfecting what needs to be perfected, and pruning wherever we find practices that ought to be prohibited." 

It's not that the English journalists want to see the side or the manager fail, it's just that, for me, they don't ask the right questions of the FA or the manager. Instead of "can we win the world cup in (insert tournament year) " they should be asking, "how can we set up the football system to win the world cup in ..." It's how you can get the FA to get rid of the MBA/CA/Lawyers out of the upper echelons of the football side of the organization. the Media should also be pressuring ex-football players, both men and women to get into football admin like in other countries. People like Sol Campbell, David Seaman, Tony Adams, Paul Ince, Paul Scholes, Gary Linekar, Butcher, Paul Parker, Ray Wilkins, should be involved in the planning and football side of the national administrative body, and should be the ones coming up with football development plans.

On the short term front, after a game for instance,  instead of asking what did you think of the game tonight Roy, it should be, "what were you trying to achieve and did you achieve it Roy?" 

it's all well and good hounding the manager/players about the lack of attractive football and blowing supposedly poor sides away with pass and move, flowing football and scoring 4 goals a game to make decent headlines, but if they really care about progress, they should be asking what exactly the manager is trying to do and whether or not the players carried out those instructions/plans; that's what really matters.

With  upcoming games against minnows that England should be winning  comfortably, the expectation game is almost unwinnable, with a solid 2 or 3 nil victory the minimum acceptable outcome, and if they do go to score 5 or more unanswered goals, the level of the opposition will be used to discount their achievements. 

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